COVID-19: Vaccine | Testing | Self-assessment | Patient & Visitor Safety | Visitor Policy
Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Living Well > Health Library > Caregiving: Skin Care for Immobile Adults
As we get older, our skin gets thinner and drier, so it is easier to damage. The chance of skin damage is higher for people who can't move much, or who spend most of their time in bed or in a wheelchair. The skin can develop rashes and sores, especially pressure injuries (also called pressure sores). These injuries are caused by constant pressure, which can limit the blood supply to the skin.
Skin also can be damaged by sweat, feces, or urine, making pressure injuries more likely and harder to heal.
You can help protect the skin of the person you're caring for by checking it every day and by being careful when cleaning it.
Check the person's skin every day for pressure injuries, especially around bony areas. It's easiest to do this when you help the person bathe and dress. The most common places for these problems are the back of the head and ears, the shoulders, the elbows, the lower back and buttocks, and the hips. Pressure injuries also can form on the inner knees and the heels.
When a pressure injury forms, the skin temperature can be different than nearby skin. It might be warmer or cooler. The skin can also feel either firmer or softer than the rest of the skin.
Also look for rashes, especially in the groin area. This is very important for people who have problems controlling their bladder or bowels, or who wear adult protective underwear.
Let the person know why you're checking the skin. Keep their body covered except for the area you are checking. This will help them stay warm and also may help them feel more comfortable.
You can help prevent pressure injuries by carefully turning the person every 2 hours. It relieves the pressure that can be placed on an area of the body when a person doesn't move for a long time.
Let the person's doctor know if you see pressure injures. The doctor or nurse may give you some advice about how to treat minor sores at home. Serious sores need more medical treatment.
You may be able to use devices that help prevent pressure injuries. These include special cushions and mattresses. But they don't take the place of turning the person.
Keeping the person's skin clean and moisturized can help keep their skin healthy.
Current as of:
May 4, 2022
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineGayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
Current as of: May 4, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Gayle E. Stauffer, RN - Registered Nurse
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.